Keaton Jennings: England opener ‘completely surprised’ by spot-fixing allegations

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Spot-fixing allegations are ‘complete rubbish’ – Jennings
England v Pakistan – Second Test
Dates: 1-5 June Venue: Headingley
Coverage: BBC Radio 5 live sports extra & BBC Sport website

England’s preparations for the second Test against Pakistan will not be affected by allegations of spot-fixing, says recalled opener Keaton Jennings.

TV station Al Jazeera has claimed three England players spot-fixed part of the fifth Test against India in 2016.

England have “emphatically” denied the allegations.

Keaton Jennings: England opener ‘completely surprised’ by spot-fixing allegations
Keaton Jennings: England opener ‘completely surprised’ by spot-fixing allegations

“I’ve walked in with a fresh face and I don’t think it has made any difference to the way the guys have prepared,” said Jennings.

The left-hander, who played in the match in question, told BBC Sport: “I was completely surprised by the allegations.

“We as a group completely deny them and at the time I wasn’t aware of anything. I won’t comment any further, but as far as I’m aware they aren’t true.”

Jennings, who played the last of his six Tests against South Africa in August 2017, has taken the place of Mark Stoneman for Friday’s match at Headingley.

He made a century on debut in India, but averaged only 15.87 in four matches against the Proteas last summer.

The 25-year-old moved from Durham to Lancashire during the winter and has begun the season with two centuries in the County Championship and another in the One-Day Cup.

“It’s a huge opportunity,” he said. “I’m hugely honoured and hopefully I can make an impact.

“I want to play with a free, happy heart and take in every moment I can.

“It might be the last Test that I play, so I really want to enjoy the feeling.”

Keaton Jennings
Jennings played his last Test match against South Africa in August 2017

Jennings’ upright technique came under scrutiny during his first spell as a Test cricketer and the South Africa-born batsman said he has “addressed certain issues”.

“I don’t think I’ve changed a massive amount, but there are certain things that I’ve looked at,” he said. “Hopefully they will make the difference. I’m a fighter, I won’t lie down and will keep trying my hardest.

“I’d like to think I’ve addressed certain issues, but I won’t come out and start batting right-handed. I won’t suddenly start triggering or moving around because the product I’ve had for the last 25 years has worked.

“It’s about fine-tuning to try to better myself. I’ve looked at myself personally and addressed bits and pieces in my life to get better.”

And Jennings, whose father Ray is a former coach of the South Africa national team, revealed that he should have been sitting a university exam on Wednesday.

“At the end of the day, we’re people. We try to take our lives in a certain direction and do the best we can,” said Jennings, who is studying accountancy.

After a nine-wicket defeat at Lord’s, England must win at Headingley to avoid suffering a home series loss to Pakistan for the first time since 1996.

Jennings says the squad are showing no ill-effects after turning in a dreadful performance in London.

“This is a huge match,” he said. “I’ve walked in and the guys seem happy, there’s a good buzz. Hopefully we can make an impact this week.

“The guys say they had three or four really good training days before Lord’s and things didn’t quite work out. Hopefully this week we can stamp a good performance down.”

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